A harmless bout of adolescent rebellion escalates into a full-scale family crisis for Ava (Mahour Jabbari) in this striking, semi-autobiographical portrait of a girl growing up in Tehran. A gifted musician and diligent student, Ava shares interests with pretty much any other teenage girl on the planet: drama, gossip and boys. But her mother’s overreaction after a minor indiscretion leads to spiralling tensions both at home and school. And Ava is not the kind of girl who will back down when confronted by pursed lips, raised eyebrows and dire warnings about ruined reputations.
This impressive first feature from writer and director Sadaf Foroughi uses long takes and buffeting, overlapping dialogue to bring a fresh, vital energy to the inventively framed widescreen scenes. Initially, Ava floats around the periphery, as her parents discuss her. She’s like an actor waiting for her cue to take to the stage, and her cue comes soon enough: inflamed by jostling teen egos, marking territory over boys, Ava bets a rival that she will secure a date with the unwitting lad in question.
The 0-60 acceleration of disaster and melodrama is a little disconcerting, as is the tendency to self-sabotage demonstrated by Ava and her mother. But there’s a jagged emotional authenticity scored into the film like initials carved into a desk.
Source: The Guardian